Kinslow’s Family Wasn’t Consulted on Tuesday’s Memorial Service

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Democratic activist Michael Kinslow passed away just after Christmas due to aggressive pancreatic cancer.  His friends in Orange County’s Democratic Party and the OC Labor Fed have organized a memorial for him to be held Tuesday, January 6.  An alert was sent to thousands of Democrats throughout Orange County, but the  organizers — we’re told someone from the DPOC central committee and the OC Labor Fed — commited a terrible faux pas.  They failed to include Kinslow’s family in the memorial’s planning process nor was the family invited to the event.  When someone you care about passes, that person’s spouse (or parent, or child) should have the final say on anything planned for their memory.

The DPOC leadership had nothing to do with the memorial which was planned by the OC Labor Fed.  OCLF asked that the DPOC include details about the service to its email list; the DPOC had planned to send a brief notice of Kinslow’s passing. So if there’s any anger here, direct it at the OCLF.

In the initial email announcing the memorial, Kinslow’s home address was shared so friends could send flowers, cards, or gifts of food customary when someone passes on.  But this was done without the conset of Kinslow’s wife, Georgie, without regard that someone would be available to received said items.  We’re told she is quite upset about the slight and the planned memorial organized without her input or knowledge.

This memorial shouldn’t be a political event, but a rather human one.  But someone within the DPOC’s central committee and someone in the OC Labor Fed should be ashamed that Kinslow’s family wasn’t included (or invited) to a public memorial.

Hand it to Georgie Kinslow to right the ship and respond with dignity and class.  She asked the DPOC to send this message to the thousands of recipients on the DPOC’s Constant Contact database:

To:The Orange County Democratic Community

From:Georgina Kinslow ~ (email address redacted)

RE:Remembrance for Michael Kinslow

 

I want to thank each and every one of you who have reached out to Michael and me over these past few weeks and months as we embarked on what was to become our last journey together.  It ended entirely too soon, and we were not able to check off all the boxes, but our journey was full of blessings and many silver linings for which we are eternally grateful.  Many of you played a part in making that possible, so thank you.  Michael prayed regularly that he might have a “good death.”  Rest assured that in his final moments, Michael was surrounded by his family, and he went bravely and peacefully to join his father and brother in Heaven while I cradled him in my arms… just as he prayed.

I have received several phone calls and messages inquiring about the upcoming Remembrance the DPOC has scheduled for January 6th.  While we appreciate, deeply, the DPOC’s desire to hold a Remembrance for Michael, I do need to clarify that this event was planned and scheduled without inclusion from our family.  Nor were we included on the e-mail recipient list.  Therefore, none of us will be able to attend.  But I do encourage all of you to attend in Michael’s honor ~ laugh, cry and reflect on the lasting role he played in the causes near and dear to his heart, many of which you all shared.  Celebrate him well, as he would have wanted.  One of the issues that he felt so strongly about was Immigration Reform.  I can tell you it was with great pride and joy that he watched the President’s Immigration Action Address on November 21st from his room at the hospital.  Afterward, Michael became sad thinking that he would not be able to see it through to the end, but I reminded him that he was there to plant the seeds, cultivate the soil and tend to its roots as the movement grew from the ground up… and therefore his efforts would have a lasting impact.  He really liked that imagery.

The Remembrance Announcement which was disseminated requested that cards and condolences be sent to me at our home… but Michael and I had another wish.  We would ask that in lieu of flowers, cards and condolences, please consider making a donation in Michael’s Honor or Memory to the following charitable organization as part of their “Cure PC” campaign (see below).  We felt strongly about this due, in part, because Pancreatic Cancer is currently the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and is one of the nation’s deadliest cancers with a five-year relative survival rate of just 6 percent.  Sadly, an estimated 73 percent of patients will die in the first year of diagnosis.  Michael was told that with treatment he could have up to a year.  He desperately wanted his year… he fought valiantly for that year… he boldly took the most aggressive form of chemotherapy available in order to help give him that year.  And despite that battle, our Celtic Crusader had only a few short months.

The Lustgarten Foundation

1111 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage, New York 11714

Toll Free: 1-866-789-1000 P: 516-803-2304 F: 516-803-2303

Please visit: www.lustgarten.org (or) www.curepc.org for additional information or to make a donation.

There will be a Memorial for Michael in accordance with his hands-on planning (yes, even in illness he had his hands in everything he could!).  This private Memorial will take place the weekend of January 17-18, and will be by invitation only due to space limitations.  Because of that, I take great comfort in the fact that all of you will be able to celebrate Michael’s life at the Remembrance on the 6th, and hopefully continue to be inspired to share in his activism and his pursuits of social justice.  I pray you will find closure and peace (as I do) in the fact that he is not only with his Heavenly Father, but now he is also reunited with the father and brother he lost in early childhood, whom he yearned for his entire life.  For fifteen years he was my best friend, my great love and my fierce warrior… So now it’s his turn to rest in power, love and peace while the rest of us take care of the garden.  Until we meet again, my beloved Anam Cara… it truly was more than enough.

*****

I’m told some members of the DPOC Central Committee received phone calls suggesting that a candidate for election to the Central Committee was one of my sources on this story.  This is a lie designed to encourage a “no” vote in the election tonight.  I was tipped off to this by more than two sources so don’t be swayed by a phone call from someone using this story to smear a candidate they don’t like for tonight’s race.

 

  10 comments for “Kinslow’s Family Wasn’t Consulted on Tuesday’s Memorial Service

  1. David Vasquez
    January 5, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    What a show of class!

    In the face of bafoonery it’s great to see an adult response.

    • Georgie Kinslow
      January 7, 2015 at 12:27 am

      Thank you David. Michael always said that one of the things he loved the most about me was that I “moved through the world with grace.” And, while I was indeed perplexed by the way the Remembrance was handled, I didn’t want to let Michael down, or in any way discourage anyone from attending the celebration of such a magnificent man.

  2. Truck Drivin' Mike
    January 5, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Well, if the point of this post was to expose (once again) what a complete and total self centered jerk Greg Diamond is, it was without need.

    “We knew Vinnie Barbarino was gay in 76. We just didn’t need to brag to everybody we knew it” Michael Kinslow.

    Greg needs to tell everyone what a great friend he is/was…..take some humility from Mike: We know Vinnies Catholic rants were about far more than his mothers “sainthood”. Read between the lines Diamond.

    RIP MK

    • Georgie Kinslow
      January 7, 2015 at 1:51 am

      Mike, I’m not sure why you would think that Greg Diamond was behind this… It was organized by the Labor Fed. Greg has been nothing but respectful, and eager to be helpful in all his communications with our family, both before and after Michael’s passing. No, this debacle was not of Greg’s doing… And while I am fairly certain I know who IS responsible, what’s done is done and I see no good reason to revisit the subject. Michael’s official Memorial will be in accordance with his personal wishes, and hopefully both his professional and personal legacies will continue to inspire others for many years to come…

      • Dan Chmielewski
        January 7, 2015 at 4:23 pm

        Georgie — thanks for your comments. I’m not sure where anyone got the impression Mr. Diamond was behind this as that’s not my information at all. Regardless, please accept my sympathies for your loss and my apologies to those who slighted you and your family.

      • Cynthia Ward
        January 7, 2015 at 4:29 pm

        Mrs. Kinslow, I am sorry for your loss, and even more sorry to reach out to you in so impersonal a way as a message on a blog. You do not know me, and I am not tied to the Labor Fed nor the DPOC (in fact I am an alternate on the Central Committee for the “other guys”) but I know of you through Greg Diamond, who is a friend and my attorney. I regret I did not get to know your husband, because while we may not share political views, I suspect we would have shared the same passion for making the world a better place, and that is so much more important than whether a Central Committee name tag bears an elephant or a donkey on its logo. Greg shared some very real tears and heartfelt memories as we waited outside court one day, as he told me about Michael and that he had taken a turn for the worse. Your husband sounds like he was truly an amazing man. He must have been, because his wife is one gracious, classy lady. You have brought me to tears with your words. Someday when the time is appropriate, I would love to meet you, and I will ask Greg if he might make an introduction, whenever you feel up to it. But I just wanted very much to simply express my respect and admiration for the way you have handled a delicate matter that was very indelicately managed by others. Thank you for setting such a brilliant example of grace in painful circumstances that the rest of us would do well to follow. I am truly sorry someone added additional stress to the grief you and your family are already experiencing. May God bless and strengthen you in the days ahead. For many it is an empty cliche’ to say someone “lives on” through the legacy they left, but to hear Greg tell it your Michael did a lot of world-changing in the time he was among us, and I can only pray that you can draw some comfort in knowing that he did so much with the time God gave him to share with this world. Again, I am so sorry for your loss, and very grateful for your gracious response, reminding us all what a genuine lady looks like.

        Cynthia Ward, Anaheim

    • Greg Diamond
      January 11, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      I’ll tell you two things that Mike Kinslow wasn’t: a coward and a character assassin. I note that not only are you the only person commenting on this post not to use your own name, but that you stole the name you are using from another (generally benign and often funny) pseudonymous commenter of ours back at OJB. I don’t know what the point of your “Vinnie Barbarino was gay” quote (which, despite your attribution, I do not believe is actually from Mike) is, and it’s not really worth trying to sift through the muck of your mind to find out. I hope that you at some point acquire some decency.

      Thank you, Georgie and Cynthia for your comments. No, I was not involved in the planning here. My understanding is that Labor Fed people simply wanted to have a memorial for Mike sooner than three weeks after his death — which I do not mention as a criticism, but just that people really did want to come together and celebrate his life, and they did not mean to give affront by doing so. The DPOC, on its own, picked up the ball and send out a well-intentioned but ill-advised blast invitation because (I presume) people there also felt a need to come together in remembrance. I don’t think that anyone thought that they were violating protocol, but the principals of both sides did try to keep being respectful towards Mike’s memory at the forefront; I appreciate that all around.

      • Georgie Kinslow
        January 13, 2015 at 2:30 am

        Greg, however altruistic you believe the Labor Fed, or the DPOC’s intentions may have been, Michael would NOT have approved. Few people in the world could be as black and white as my beloved husband, and it was simply disrespectful in the extreme to plan, and hold a memorial for him and not include his family. Anyone who thinks otherwise did not truly know my husband. Respect was HUGE for him, and to not include his mother, wife and children in a public Remembrance which was allegedly held to honor his contributions to the community was tacky, and inexcusable. At a minimum, his family should have been invited and thanked for their willingness to share such an integral part of their household with so many others who needed his help, and for whom he spent countless hours and even days away from home while he crusaded for their cause.

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    January 11, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Well, that’s two things for you to aspire to not to be Greg. But you fail regularly.

    It’s been noted that this situation might make Henry or Nick look bad. They were the drivers inside the party behind this. I’m not naming the guilty parties in this post but my respect for them has dropped considerably.

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